Tell me again, how do people stay married for so long?


My recent column about couples celebrating long marriages sure generated a lot of comments.  I thought these were wonderful.  Here goes:

“My folks, who were married 45 years when my mom passed away, always said that ‘date nights’ were important.  Date nights didn’t include kids, just time away from home doing something they enjoyed together.  My mom always said ‘surprise’ date nights were the best,” recalled Leslie Blythe of Casper.    

Diana Schutte Dowling, formerly of Greybull, recalled that it helps to be raised by parents who also had a long marriage.  “My parents Art and Idell Schutte were married for 69 years. Before my mother died in 2005, I danced with my dad at our 50th. And he continued to dance until his death at age 96.”

Steve Mossbrook of Riverton says he and wife Sandy recently celebrated 44 years. He believes their secret is “a common world view and a focus on remaining friends as everything else is transitory.”

Judy Legerski of Lander says after reflecting with her husband Don on their 50 years of wedded bliss, the following seemed most important: “Patience, a sense of humor, shared laughter, a faith in God, mutual respect, sharing much but allowing each the ability to bloom in his/her own way, trust, open honest communication, and a willingness to do things for each other.”  

Dave Hanks of Rock Springs chimed in with his four main thoughts on how they have enjoyed 33 years of marriage: 

“Remember, no matter what the question the correct response is: yes, dear; that will be fine, dear; whatever you say, dear. This is a tactic some of us males learn quicker than others because in the end we know our loving wives will always do what is in our best interest.

“Always remember there is only one person you ultimately answer to on this planet.

“Your wife is the person you need to be the most concerned about and what she thinks is the most important, not my boss or family or friends (it’s all about her in a good way).

“Think back to the time you were pursuing the girl of your dreams, remember all those romantic things you did? Well, make sure you still do them: hold hands, always say I love you and remember she is still the girl of your dreams. My motto is: I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow.”

Attorney and author John Davis and his wife will be celebrating their 50th this September in Worland. 

Long-time Associated Press writer Joe McGowan says: “My parents married in Sheridan, moved a lot including my dad as editor of Northern Wyoming Daily News in Worland, editor of the Rock Springs Rocket, editor of the Wyoming-Utah Labor Journal in Cheyenne and owner/publisher, editor of the Green River Star.  They stayed married through the depression, good times and bad, until unfortunately my dad died of throat cancer, a result of a lifetime of smoking.”

Jean Mathisen Haugen of Lander recalled how “my folks were married 56 years at the time my father passed away and his parents and his mother’s parents were also married 50 years, at a time when that was unusual.  Since I didn’t marry until I was 51 and Ron was in ill health, we only had eight years together — but it was worth every minute.  It’s nice to hear about couples that stay together.”

Long-time journalist Dave Simpson, Cheyenne, said:

“We celebrated 32 years together yesterday. That’s 32 years in the second time we’ve been married to each other. Got divorced in 1976 after two years, but decided in 1985 we weren’t so bad after all and got back together. When we disagree, we say, ‘Well, we tried divorce and that didn’t work, so I guess we have to work this out.’ (In granting that divorce, Judge Vernon Bentley in Laramie said, ‘It wouldn’t surprise me if you two got back together.’ The judge was prescient.) Our rule: Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s just about all small stuff. Another rule: No separate checking accounts. Just one.”

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi and wife Diana have been married 47 years. Mike has a ritual he goes through every year on June 7, their anniversary. In Washington, D. C., the place is full of young people who are living together and postponing marriage.

Mike says he always picks out some young man and goes and has a fatherly talk with him about the benefits and wonders of being married. And “by golly, it’s time you married this young gal you have been going with for so long!”  He says it usually works.

He also made the sobering observation: “It seems the more expensive the wedding; the less likely the marriage will work out.  Not sure why that is the case but it sure seems to happen that way a lot,” he concludes.

Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at billsniffin.com. He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written six books, which are available at fine stores.  His latest is Wyoming at 125. His books are also available at wyomingwonders.com.

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